India’s first Lactation Consultant Course at P.D. Hinduja College of Nursing

P.D. Hinduja College of Nursing, in affiliation with the Maharashtra University of Heath Sciences (MUHS),  inaugurated and launched India’s first Lactation Consultant Course for nurses. The nursing college, recognized by the Indian Nursing Council (INC) and Maharashtra Nursing Council (MNC), will begin this new course on December 04, 2017.

Lactation Consultants specialize in the field of breastfeeding and provide mothers with breastfeeding education, solutions to various breast-feeding related problems and, help with babies that are not gaining enough weight. Through this course, lactation consultants will be trained and equipped to encourage mothers to breastfeed, provide nutrition advice, provide counselling, along with physical and emotional support to mothers.

A mother’s breast milk contains all the necessary nutrients that an infant need in the first 6 months of his/her life and new-borns need to be breastfed within half hour of being born. However, national data sources state that only 44% of new-borns are breast fed within the stipulated time in India; a total of only 12 million out of 26 million.

Addressing the launch of the new course, Dr. Jaya Kuruvilla, Principal, P.D. Hinduja Nursing College said, “Most mothers today are unaware of the crucial role that breast milk plays in their new-born’s life. Children are born immature, therefore breast milk, apart from providing new-borns with the necessary vitamins and minerals, also helps the child grow physically. Through this new course, our goal is to close the gap between the existent lack of knowledge and ideal practices of breastfeeding that need to be followed. With the course, lactation consultants will be able to provide new mothers with access to correct information and help them develop a positive attitude towards breastfeeding. and assist with initiation of breast feeding within half an hour in normal delivery and sustaining it through two years.”

Urbanization had led to several mothers moving away from breast feeding, to using various substitutes such as artificial milk/formula milk, animal milk and water, thereby, unknowingly depriving their infants. This deprivation makes infants 15 times more prone to death due to pneumonia and 11 times more prone to death due to diarrhoea.

Gautam Khanna, CEO, P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC said, “It brings me great pride to be part of an institution that is bringing to India its first Lactation Nurse Practitioner program that will make a huge difference to the lives of mothers. We want to provide mothers and their children access to right information and care that will help create bright and healthy future generations. This is in line with our founder’s philosophy of advancing fearlessly to newer frontiers of knowledge. We hope that this will be the torch bearer for others in the country to start a similar program and help the community.”

Children that are not breastfed are susceptible to the risk of middle ear infections; lower respiratory tract infection, allergies, diabetes, asthma, childhood leukaemia, childhood obesity and sudden infant death syndrome, along with a severe impact on the overall IQ of the child. Mothers that do not breastfeed are also prone to an increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, retained gestational weight gain, and osteoporosis.”

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